The state of being productive is one that’s highly-sought after, even more so today where distractions are aplenty and coupled with endless deadlines and work. Being productive may be a constant source of pressure, so much so that simply hearing the word can stress us out.
But with so much information being regurgitated online, it’s likely that some of it could just be false and we’re eager enough to fall for it. Not only is misinformation a waste of time, but it might actually drive your productivity to the opposite direction.
Here are some of the myths you can find about productivity:
- Work friends are unnecessary distractions
Having friends at work and investing in a social life among the workplace is a distraction that is keeping you from being productive. The logic to this might seem really straightforward to some as having friendships in the workplace can take up a lot of time. Not only would there be a lot of time spent talking and catching up on each other’s lives but there might also be after-work activities that would take up even more time.
In the pursuit of being productive, it can be very tempting to believe that productivity demands that you devote any free time to it and not some carefree activities that may be spent with friends.
It’s a sad, lonely myth.
People who have close friends in their workspaces are found to be seven times more engaged in their jobs. Considering that most of the hours in a day are spent on work, having—and keeping—close friends can actually help you climb up that career ladder.
Office friends who lend an ear for little rants, or to celebrate your small victories with, offer more than just an opportunity to blow off steam. They can also help you succeed in your career as they become part of your network. By knowing your strengths and goals in life, they’ll be happy to help you achieve more in your career and uplift you when you need support.
As the CEO of the jobs platform Comparably Jason Nazar puts it, “Having someone there to go through the good times and bad experiences with you is invaluable.”
- You shouldn’t have any snacks at work
As the day goes on, it gets very hard to ignore that significant drop in your energy. Your mind may drift towards reaching out and grabbing a snack but you stop yourself because you believe that eating a snack would ultimately do nothing but take away your focus from your work.
However, this might be actually the other way around.
Throughout the day, blood sugar levels fluctuate and affect your energy levels and your brain power. This explains why a lot of people find themselves less productive as the day goes by. Blood sugar levels may have crashed, dragging your energy levels and productivity with it.
Having snacks throughout the day not only helps normalize and maintain a straight source of energy for you to perform at your best, but it can also boost productivity as you get over a distracting craving. Happier people will likely perform better and sharper.
Snacking can also improve your mood and make you more pleasant to talk to. We all know what it’s like to be snarky and a bit impatient at someone because we’re hungry. ‘Hangriness,’ as it has been called, is also caused by drops in blood sugar caused by hunger. Not a lot of people know that maintaining a positive mood and controlling emotions actually requires energy from what we eat.
So you can go and get that snack as long as you keep it healthy. Harvard Business Review noted that munching on fruits and vegetables were more likely to make people happier and more creative, compared to unhealthy pickings which just make you lethargic and sluggish.
- Taking breaks are not necessary
Staying at your desk for as long as possible could easily equate to being productive as you are not only spending time doing whatever is needed, but it also limits any distractions that could possibly be caused by stopping and going out.
But this could actually be doing you more harm than good.
It is a very common mentality among employees that spending as much time at their desks for consecutive hours will increase productivity, but it’s actually the opposite. Spending countless hours on your desk and in front of a screen will only drain you mentally and drag your performance levels down.
Staying in one position could also lead to risks in your physical well-being. In fact, data shows that sitting for long periods of time can actually cause increased risks of back pain, obesity, colon cancer, and heart disease, among other things, in the long run.
Taking breaks where you leave your work area gives you an opportunity to clear your mind, relax, and recharge for the rest of the workday. A survey conducted by Tork claims that employees who took their breaks—and really used it—replenished their energy levels and made them feel more ready to take on the rest of the day.
It also helps employees recharge and maintain proper mental health, while feeling more valued and enthusiastic to engage more in the company, as well as increase job satisfaction.
So instead of spending so much time squeezing your brain for the focus you need to get through a task, try to step away, go outside, take a walk, and breathe some fresh air. Who knows? Maybe the answer you’ve been looking for can pop up in your head without you even trying.
- It is okay to push back sleep a couple of hours to finish something
When you’re too wrapped in an assignment due the next day, it’s easy to lose track of time. And it is also really easy to think that a couple of lost hours for sleep is extremely justifiable if it brings you closer to finishing your task.
But the amount of sleep you get is one of the biggest factors affecting your productivity. Everyone needs to sleep, whether it be other famous entrepreneurs or athletes, absolutely everyone needs a good night’s rest.
Sleeping is the time that our brain gets to recharge itself after the whole day so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and brand new. But a lot of people completely take sleeping for granted.
In the usual life of a working adult, sleep is a crucial part in maintaining productivity. It helps us stay more concentrated and focused, improves our thinking process, decision-making capabilities, memory, and more. Whereas not getting the recommended seven to nine hours only puts at risk our cognitive performance and increases the likelihood of making poor choices, not to mention the health risks that lack of sleep poses.
So instead of thinking that you’re immune to the very human need to sleep, do yourself a favor and set aside that project for now to give yourself that well-deserved rest.
So Are You Being Productive?
A skewed perspective on productivity can easily burn you out: working non-stop for hours on end, trying to get as much as possible done, is a recipe for high stress levels and short-lived results.
Productivity is about doing your best while maintaining a proper and healthy state of mind. Finding the right formula for your productivity isn’t easy and could take a while—the methods vary with the results, but what remains consistent are the benefits of a mindful approach to taking care of yourself: You can only be as productive as you are happy and motivated. There’s no one-size-fits-all kind of solution for being productive, but rather you have to test and experiment in determining what is perfect for you.
Edited by: Ervin Delas Peñas
Visual by: Chloe Gaw